We are lucky to live in an area that has both beautiful beaches and woods to explore and there is something quite special about taking a cold winter’s walk with crisp blue skies.
Conditions have been just perfect for this recently and I took a stroll through the back of Queen Elizabeth Country Park, seeing if there were any wild mushrooms about.
But my foraging skills seem to have disappeared because I came home with an empty bag. However, the long walk did give me a good appetite.
There are plenty of game birds at this time of year that we favour in the restaurant and should also be used more by the home cook.
Pheasant is a lean, gamey meat and should be looked at as a wild chicken.
Its free range, has a vegetable and grain diet and is relatively inexpensive.
Pot-roasted with root vegetables would make a simple and welcoming dinner after a long walk. I like the breasts roasted and served a little pink with some chestnut stuffing and a few wild mushrooms... when I can find them.
You could also use this stuffing recipe for your turkey on Christmas Day.
200g roasted chestnuts
1 onion finely chopped
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
350g minced pork belly
Good grating nutmeg
Dessertspoon chopped thyme
Dessertspoon chopped chives
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon brandy
1. Gently cook the onion and garlic in the knob of butter in a frying pan on a low heat until soft.
2. Allow to cool and then transfer to a large bowl.
3. Add all the other ingredients and mix thoroughly.
4. Press the stuffing into an oiled bread tin and bake in a pre-heated oven 190C/gas 5 for 30 minutes (you can roll into balls and bake on trays if you prefer).
5. Slice and serve.
Lawrence Murphy’s restaurant is Fat Olives at Emsworth, fatolives.co.uk on 01243 377914.